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A Miracle at the Wright Time

Posted: January 30, 2008 3:32 a.m.
Updated: April 1, 2008 2:02 a.m.
 
It wasn't that Saugus' Mario Wright knew his game-winning shot was going in.

It wasn't that the rest of the Centurions knew Wright's shot was going in.
It was simply that Wright was disappointed he didn't call his shot from just inside the half-court line with five-tenths of a second to go in a tie game.
"I should have called bank," Wright said just moments after his buzzer-beater had fallen through the hoop.
After trailing for all but 14 seconds of Tuesday night's Foothill League clash with West Ranch, the Centurions needed a frantic rally to even allow Wright the opportunity to win the game. With Wright's half-court prayer, Saugus escaped from its own gym with a 54-51 win over the Wildcats (15-6, 3-3).
The Centurions (18-4, 5-2) led for the first 14 seconds of the basketball game and then trailed all the way until the final buzzer.
The end came when Wright's miraculous shot banked through to finish of a dramatic 13-0 Saugus run in the final 3:30 of the game.
After West Ranch's Dave Franklin missed a runner in the lane with seven seconds left in the game, Wright grabbed the rebound and turned up court.
"I got the rebound, saw there was five seconds left on the clock. I looked at coach and he didn't call a timeout so I shot it," Wright said. "I was just waiting for it... the rest of the team said they knew it was going in."
Even Saugus head coach Jeff Hallman knew it was good.
"I thought it was going in. As he was going up I said, 'That's going in,'" Hallman said. "I know it is crazy, but I knew it."
All it took was four dribbles to get the half-court line and one spin to split the double team and Wright was home free for his game-winner.
"I was surprised. It was crazy," said Saugus point guard Michael Cassio. "I wanted a timeout, I didn't know what he was doing and then he went up and it was crazy, it was just crazy."
Franklin drained a 4-pointer to put West Ranch up 51-41 and forced Hallman to call a timeout.
"Coach told us to have our poise and crash the boards," Wright said. "Don't let them get the offensive rebounds like they had been doing."
Until that point, West Ranch had been the aggressor to loose balls and had slowly been pulling away in the fourth quarter until its biggest lead of the game with Franklin's three.
The Wildcats pressing defense had allowed them to hold the lead all game and dictate the pace of the contest until the final stretch of the fourth quarter.
For the final 3:30, however, it was all Saugus.
Saugus guard Noel Mansour started the rally with a three-pointer in front of the Saugus bench with 2:51 left.
After stopping the Wildcats on their next possession, Saugus guard Mark Watanabe knocked down two free throws to keep the rally going.
Another Centurion three, this one from Joey Dietrich pulled Saugus within two at 51-49 with 1:26 left.
With 52 seconds left, Wright was fouled and went the line and missed.
However, Wright battled for his own rebound and tied the game with a layup.
With the crowd in a frenzy, West Ranch called a timeout setting the stage for Wright's heroics.
Franklin finished with a game-high 16 points for the Wildcats while Wright finished with 13 to lead the Centurions.
With the win the Centurions remain in second place in the Foothill League, one game behind Valencia.


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